Monthly Archives: February 2016

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 2/29/16

Here is Monday.  A fine day Monday.  It starts the work week for most people so it is rather weird when I’m wandering the world and taking my day off which was needed after a long, long 3 days of work. Today was a pretty light day on the beer news front.  The internet world is awash with Oscar stories.  I’m not sure what exactly they are talking about since very little of any interest occurred last night.  Anyway, on to the Five Articles.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read Today And Why, 2/28/16

Sorry, I missed yesterday, but I needed sleep and had an early day at work.  Here is a good Five Articles.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 2/26/16

Sometimes it’s hard to find good articles for the Five and some days it’s like a fire hose opened up on my computer.  Here are a quick Five for the day.

Of Alternative Music And Craft Beer

1991-1994 was a great time to be an alternative music fan.  August 1991 was the release of Ten by Pearl Jam.  A month later Smells Like Teen Spirit hit the country. That was the moment we alternative music thought we had won.

We, the weird, geeky kids everyone else made fun of were on top of the world.  We weren’t the cool kids.  What we had done was bring the cool kids into our world.  The musicians everyone was listening to were just like us.  They had been the ones dressing weird in high school.  They were the ones acting weird.  They were the ones reading weird books.  They were the ones drawing weird pictures.  Now, they straddled the world like colossuses.  It felt like we could do anything.

Then it ended.  You can attribute it to Kurt Cobain’s suicide.  Or, maybe it was Pearl Jam warring with TicketMaster.  Somehow it all ended up with Creed being a hit band.

I have much the same feeling right now as a craft beer fan as I did as an alternative music fan in 1992.  Craft beer has the same critical buzz. Craft is in every magazine and on every bookshelf.  Entrepreneurs are figuring out how to make money using the words craft beer.  It is a heady time.  It is also a dangerous time.

Back to Creed.  I’m sure the guys in the band are nice enough.  OK, maybe they have their issues, but who doesn’t.  Creed as an entity doesn’t matter.  In this case, they represent the idea that grunge music could be broken down into a scientific formula for success.

One-part muddy guitar + one-part gravelly voiced baritone lead singer + one-part flannel = successful band.

There is a soul in art and music that you can’t capture by the use of certain chords and instrumentation.  What money men and accountants forget is that the thing that makes art great, its soul, can’t be codified.  Great music is more than just chords and instrumentation.  Much of the music that came after Nirvana sounded fine.  It provides a good soundtrack to your time spent in a bar or a coffee shop, but it doesn’t make you feel.  It is missing that ineffable thing that soul actually is.

You can taste soul in beer as much as you can hear it in music.  Budweiser is a solidly made beer.  Each can taste like the can you had 5 years ago.  Making beer taste the same or close to the same from batch to batch is the holy grail.  That is a hard thing to do.  Ask any brewer.  However, that doesn’t mean Bud has any soul.

The company that makes Budweiser isn’t a brewery.  It is a beer company that manufactures and sells beer much the same way Goodyear manufactures and sells tires.  For them, beer is a commodity.  Its purpose is to appeal to the broadest possible audience at the highest possible price to produce the greatest profits.  That formula leaves room for no soul.

Think of it another way.  You can eat macaroni cheese that comes in a box.  It tastes fine in a pinch.  The macaroni and cheese your mother makes from scratch taste wholly different.  The Budweiser you drink could be brewed in Virginia or it could be brewed in China.  You won’t know the difference.  The beer you get from the brewery 10 minutes from your house could only be made in that particular place by those particular people.

That will be craft beer’s saving grace just as it has been the saving grace of good music.  There are independent music labels popping up every day.  Bands tour constantly.  They connect with people at a grass roots level every day all over the world. Going forward, the most successful breweries will be the ones who continue to innovate and connect with the public at a grassroots level.

Some of the most financially successful musical acts today get little to no airplay on traditional popular radio.  However, they play to sold out concerts night after night and get plenty of airtime on independent radio stations and online streaming services.  They find a way to connect with their audience on a grass-roots level almost person to person.

Big music companies stripped music of its vitality by dumbing it down to the least common denominator.  They stripped it of what makes it vital and kind of scary. Big beer companies are doing the same thing to craft beer through purchasing existing craft breweries and creating faux craft brands under their own umbrella.

 

Hey – he’s the one
Who likes our pretty songs
He likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his guns
But he knows not what it means
Don’t know what it means
— “In Bloom” Nirvana

Most people don’t want to think too much when it comes to their beer.  They just want something to drink. They don’t know what all these words mean and they don’t care.  They just want to get a little buzz and they will get it from something that tastes good enough unless they are convinced that there is something better.

People have so many choices to make in their lives that they don’t want to think about choosing the music they listen to or the beer they should drink.  They want someone to curate those things and tell them what is good and what is important.

If the big beer companies are allowed to curate, they will do it in a way that maximizes profits.  They will drown the world in the least offensive, least creative, most soulless, cheapest beer possible.  Beer that is merely close enough to good.

It is incumbent on us, the people who love craft beer, for all that it is and all that it can be, to stand up and make sure the big beer companies aren’t allowed to convince people that just close enough is good enough.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 2/25/16

This will be quick.  I have another blog post that was supposed to be up yesterday to finish editing and post before I leave for work.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 2/24/16

I think its Wednesday.  I lose track of the days and dates and occasionally the year when I’m working and writing.  A new blog post will be up sometime today.  It may be close to midnight, but it will be up.  Onto the Five Articles.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 2/23/16

Tuesday is my Monday. I’m working on a new blog post for tomorrow. I am in deep editing mode on it.  Here’s the Five Articles.

Taste Test: Triple C The Force with Smoked Gouda

One of my stated goals this year is to do more work on beer and food pairings.  So, here is what will hopefully be the first of this year’s tasting reviews paired with some kind of food.

Cheese is probably my favorite pairing with beer.  There are so many different cheeses and so many different beers that the pairings are endless.  My favorite cheeses almost all fall into the semi-hard category. It is not uncommon for me to buy a gouda, smoked gouda, manchego, or an aged cheddar along with a good bottle of beer and make that my lunch/afternoon snack.

This review started with an inexpensive smoked gouda I found at my local grocery store. It was one of those spur of the moment purchases.  Anyway, after I bought the cheese I scrounged in my fridge to find a beer that worked with a creamy strongly smoked cheese.  A BBA tripel seemed like the perfect fit.

The Triple C The Force BBA Tripel is part of the growing barrel aged program at Triple C Brewing in Charlotte.  The barrel aging program is one Triple C plans to make even bigger his year.

20160222_152303The Force pours with a nice amber color and moderate head.  The aroma is a classic tripel aroma, funky Belgian yeast esters, mixed with the caramelly bourbon aromas from the barrel aging.  On the face of it, that sounds like it would be almost sickly sweet to smell.  However, the aromas work well together and add to one another not overwhelming the drinker.

You get a noticeable, but not overwhelming alcohol taste along with the Belgian candi and funkiness and bourbon sweetness.  The caramel tastes from the candi and barrels reminds one of caramel candies you buy in the grocery stores that stick to your teeth when you try to chew them.

This is where the cheese comes through for you with the smoked cutting through the sweetness.  In turn, the sweetness combines with the creaminess of the gouda much like a glass of milk works with a chocolate cake.  This was a pretty successful pairing because the beer and the cheese worked well together on a couple of different levels.  If you have a free afternoon and like beer and cheese, this is a more the worthwhile way to spend it.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 2/22/16

Here is a way late version of the Five Articles after taking the weekend off.  I could lie and say it was because I was working on another blog post, which is not totally untrue a tasting review will drop later today.  However, today I am late because I ate and drank too much yesterday and just got to a state of consciousness that allows me to write and communicate effectively.  Onto the Five Articles.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 2/19/16

Friday is here. I have had better weeks.  People who generate drama in order to get attention and make themselves feel needed or wanted frustrate me.  More importantly, it makes my job harder.